A Love Letter to My Boys

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

   his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

   great is your faithfulness.” — Lamentations 3:22-23

Dear E. & I.,

I am so delighted to call you both my sons! What a privilege to be your mom! No matter what happens in the future, I wanted to make sure you know Baba(爸爸 means “daddy”in Chinese) and I love you so very much! We do what can to prepare for the worst but have total peace to know God is trustworthy and His plans are far better and sovereign.

I am not sure whether or when you will actually read this letter, but simply pausing to think about what I most want to share with you helps me gain perspective on life. How I choose to live today matters to God’s eternal plan. Knowing God’s desire gives me great pprov1717assion and caution in my walk with the Lord. His mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). As you both can testify, I made a lot of mistakes and didn’t do everything right. If you fail or are in a difficult situation, don’t allow the enemy to trick you into believing lies. Resist the temptations by the power of the Spirit through reading and applying God’s Word! Allow His Word and the trials to exam your hearts as He has done to mine numerous times. He is ALWAYS faithful! We pray that you two are there for each other for good and bad times! It’s always fun to watch you two play together happily or reconcile peacefully.

Initially, Baba and I set up this blog out of a desire to give you a spiritual legacy when we are gone, or at least help to get our mindset fixed on the Kingdom above as we raise you. But you might even be gone before us if it is the Lord’s will. This legacy is not from us and not just for you! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) What a perfect Father we have! Our heart and mind are so empowered by the Heavenly legacy from our Father above, to all nations, all families! We definitely pray for God’s protection over you physically and spiritually. It saddens and scares me tremendously to think about losing you, both or either, for whatever reason. However, it grieves me even more when thinking about any chance of not seeing you, or my relatives and friends in Heaven. Continue reading

Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (12)

  1. Parental blessing (b)

Let the Little Children Come! (Matthew 19:14)

Okay, back to the times of house repair. I am grateful God has allowed me to see more of His preparations from years ago for the heart work for His eternal glory. The trip to China confirmed His unchanging love and perfect timing in everything and every season in our life. Since I didn’t have a set time or place to study God’s Word during the house construction, I did my Bible study whenever I could, in front of the kids. It was not my favorite way of studying the Bible. But the Lord not only knows my season in life but orchestrates it. He always provided what I needed to hear and met me where I was. It could be just one verse, one hymn or a radio program, which was sufficient for my day.

My four year old then could see my genuine need to spend time with the Lord. Not only did he learn to have some quiet time together with me, but he also wanted to read his own children’s Bible and took notes like I did. Whenever I think about this, my heart is warmed by God’s grace. Our kids don’t need us to put them first but they do need to see Who (the Ultimate higher authority) we are under and worshipping. God used my children to challenge me to worship Him at all times and see life as an adventure with my Lord.

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It takes creativity and open mind to grow life in the midst of house repair. 🙂

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Called to go, Willing to stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (11)

  1. Parental blessing (a)

    For the Lord is good;    
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5 

Thank you, Father!

In October, 2015, I started this blessing counting journal around the one year house-owning anniversary. The Lord put ten specific areas of blessings on my heart to record. By the time I am meditating on #9, the “parental blessing”, we are already back from our one-month trip to China over the Christmas break! Once again, I am grateful for the beautiful timing. I am reminded that no matter how much our hearts are stirred due to our current circumstances (good or bad), it all shall pass. It seems like ages ago when we were rebuilding the house, now that life has much more settled down. However, the heart lessons are still as fresh as yesterday. Interestingly, time in China in many ways resembled our time with all the construction going on around the house: lots of new things everyday, no set schedule, no set place for everything, great need for flexibility and wisdom in parenting, more time with our parents (or grandparents for the boys).


When we are pushed out of our comfort zone in parenting, we are more likely to fall back to our flesh, and idolize circumstances we used to live in. We need to be more reliant on our Heavenly Father in choice-making, attitude-setting, and following His teaching from His Word and leading in the Spirit. As a mom of two active boys, I fail so many times and feel inadequate, but I am even more blessed to grow along with them by the grace of my Father above.

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Yeah, we had the floor done before the baby started crawling!

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Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (8)

7.  Practical blessing

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

My four-year old son was not the only one with many questions throughout various house-fixing jobs. He actually learned house-building related vocabulary faster than I did. I was struck when he corrected me by saying, “mama, it is ‘caulking’ not ‘painting’”.  I was surprised how much a little boy can learn from real life. It was a wake up call for me in viewing homeschooling as a lifestyle for the whole family. The best part was that we were all learning together through real life. It was a shared experience which we will refer to for years to come.

To give you a little background: I grew up in an apartment as a city girl in China. House projects, due to cheaper labor, were almost always hired out where I grew up. Before we came to the States, we spent four years of our married life in an one-bedroom student dorm. We didn’t have a yard, a car, American sized washer/dryer/refrigerator/oven or pretty much anything an average American home has. Now God has blessed us with all those possessions, He is also equipping us with skills and responsibilities to manage them.  We (namely, my husband. I get the blessing of being one with him!) not only had fun learning many house repair/building/maintenance skills, but also other building skills in general as we found creative ways to save money.

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Upstairs bathroom (before)

I am so proud of my husband, when he made our DIY home-decor idea into reality, when he figured out ways to fix our second-hand refrigerator, when he installed wires or switches, or many items I don’t even know the names. I am so grateful God blessed my husband with useful skills, a curious mind, adventurous spirit, and lots of friends and family to help as we needed. It was a slow but rewarding process. We don’t know how long we are to stay at this house, but now that we are blessed to own it, we are making full use of it, including all the learning and serving opportunities.


Five years ago when we first came to the States, we never thought we would own a house here. God had a different plan for us for this season of life in calling us to being willing to stay, to raise a family rooted in His Truth, to serve within the Body of Christ from our local church and community. What a blessing to gain wisdom in the Lord in a time like this when so many different voices have saturated the media! On top of all the skills and knowledge we have gained in the house-building process, we are eternally more grateful for a deeper understanding of Who God is and what our eternal Home is like through His Word.   Continue reading

Called to Go, Willing to Stay: A Blessing Counting Journal (6)

5. Financial blessing
“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth,…” Deuteronomy 8:18

As much hard work as it has been, it is such a joy to know that God blessed us with a house debt free. He has enabled us to honor the no-debt rule for our family. I know this is not true for every family but we are grateful God has provided and protected us from debt as we have desired and obeyed His direction for our family only by the power of the Spirit and His Perfect provision. All credit goes to the Lord!

When we looked at our finances and how we would like our future home to be used for His Kingdom, it seemed impossible to make it a reality as we were doing house hunting. Everything was either out of our range of affordability or not the type of house we would like to own. We were so amazed (still are amazed) by the timing of God’s provision of this “cash buyer only” house. God used the house seeking period to prepare us to make a quick decision when needed. We greatly appreciate our home, though it needed a “complete rehab” (learn more about the house here).

In case you are in doubt: Yes, it is possible to buy a house with cash! I share this to give hope. We are by no standard rich in this world. I am a full-time mom and my husband works at a community college part time. We desire to work together as a family team for God’s Kingdom full time. We see every work God led us to, not just as means of financial support for the family needs, but also tools to expand His Kingdom. We are grateful God led us to homeschool, to various ministries, to teach ESL, to a home-based business,etc.. Our life is simple yet rich with much chaos in between. God has different plans and assignments for His children. The point is to use what we have to spread Good News  (Read more about Biblical Tentmaking).

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DIY Home decor (Inspired by Kevin Leman’s “Home Court Advantage“)

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First Birthday Party, First Blog Post!

Happy Birthday, Isaiah Tiancheng Goll! 高天成,生日快乐!

Mama and Baba (Daddy in Chinese) have been working hard to get this blog running so we can start writing and leave a “simple abundant legacy“. What a joy that our first post after we are done with the blog construction pages is to celebrate our 2nd son’s first birthday!

His birthday this year has fallen on a Monday, free zoo day, also the first day my husband is done with Monday classes for the semester! With the beautiful weather, we can’t think about a better way to celebrate Isaiah’s birthday but to a zoo visit!  To make the event merrier, grandparents also joined us! Yeah for grandparents living nearby!!

Let’s get to know our little buddy a little more:

10 fun facts about Isaiah:

  1. “Happy Feet, Isaiah!” Since he was born, he likes to move his feet and toes. At first I thought it was a baby thing, then I realized it is an “Isaiah” thing. Not sure how long this is going to last but we surely enjoy watching his movement.
  2. Adores his big brother, Elijah. He is watching and interested in what his brother is doing and where he is going.
  3. Loves music. As soon as music starts, so does his rocking.
  4. Born at home on Mother’s Day in 2014.
  5. “In Christ Alone” is Isaiah’s bedtime hymn.
  6. Loves people and would rather happily play with people even when naps/meals are missed.
  7. Blocks are not to build but to throw, the further the better.
  8. Two bottom teeth like to chew a lot of real food, especially food from mama’s bowl.
  9. Uses a lot of clicks in his speech (a great potential to learn African languages with clicks).
  10. Loves sitting position the best as he discovered all the potentials by being super flexible.

Isaiah’s 5 Major Events 

  1. He watched us gutting the house so patiently and joyfully.
  2. Two road trips: Chicago, Memphis. Lost some hair in the back while laying in the car seat, but did amazingly well with the trip.
  3. Attended BSF infant program.
  4. Got to be with Gonggong (mama’s dad from China) for six weeks.
  5. Attended Sunday services with us as a family.

5 Things Isaiah didn’t do for the first year: 

  1. No fancy themed birthday party.
  2. No sick visit for the first year.
  3. No hair cut.
  4. No baby story time at the library but attended pre-school programs with his big brother instead.
  5. No walking, which worked out great with the house construction going on.

Enjoy free books, movies, toys, events and more… Check out the Library!

Do you or your kids like to

  • read
  • watch movies or listen to music
  • play with games and toys
  • have events for all ages
  • take care of office work such as print, fax and scan
  • even do any of the preceding in a language other than English?
  • or can’t get out of the house and want to do most of the above?

and do it all for FREE?

If so, you may share, or learn to share, our love of the library.

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